The sixth leg of the UCI Gravel World Series this weekend in Halmstad (Sweden) showed some of the best gravel roads in Swedish backcountry. A true benchmark of what gravel racing should be with a mixture of wide open up and down gravel roads and small rural paved roads in the middle of the many woods and lakes north of Halmstad.
The race started in two waves with men and women separated.
In the female race, a group of 4 got away after 24km with 6 times MTB World Champion Annika Langvad (DEN), Svenja Betz (GER), Mika Söderström (SWE) and Hanna Johansson (SWE). On the last climb, Betz and Langvad managed to get away with Betz outsprinting Langvad on the line in the centre of Halmstad. The average speed of the winner was 31.3kmh.
The males started five minutes earlier and a group of four got away after the climb halfway the course with former pro rider Nicholas Roche (IRL), the winner of the second qualifier Adam Blazevic (AUS), Trek ambassador Jasper Ockeloen( NED) and his compatriot Piotr Havik (NED).
On the final climb of the day the two Dutchies made a gap and it was Jasper Ockeloen outsprinting Havik on the line with a few centimetres. Norwegian Simen Nordahl Svendsen took overall third.
The race hosted a very international field with riders from 23 different nationalities at the start.
The qualifier event was the second leg of a 3 days stage race with a 23km time trial on Friday and a 80km gravel race on Sunday counting for the GC.